Home Security: What to Do After a Break-In
While we all hope that we will never be in this situation, there are a few crucial steps we must take if we ever find ourselves victims of a break-in.
If you’ve gone through a burglary in your home, take a deep breath, remain calm, and follow these steps:
Step 1) Safety First
If you come home to find that your property has been burglarized, do not enter the house. There is a chance that burglars may still be on the premises. Instead, wait in your car with the doors locked, or go to your neighbour’s house.
Step 2) Call the Police
As soon as you can, call 911 and inform local police authorities about the break-in. Remain where you are while waiting for police to arrive.
Step 3) When it is Safe, Enter Your Home
You may enter your house only when it’s been established that it is safe to do so. Even then, avoid touching anything in and around your home, since investigators may want to take fingerprints or photos as evidence.
Once the police have left and have confirmed that you can do so, you may enter your home and survey the property.
Step 4) Survey Your Home
Take a look around your home to see what has been damaged or stolen, making a list and taking pictures or videos of vandalism or damages if possible.
Don’t throw away any damaged property before you speak with your insurer. You’ll want to prepare a detailed list of any damages or stolen property, listing any broken items or physical damage to your home. Use this list to help you take inventory. Help secure the premises by temporarily boarding up windows and doors to prevent further damage.
Step 5) Contact Your Insurer
The next step is to contact your insurance company and inform them of the break-in.
If you are insured with Desjardins Insurance, call a claims advisor ASAP at 1-888-785-5502 so that you can determine next steps, and begin the claims process.
If you’re unsure what is covered by your Desjardins home insurance policy, clarify with a licensed insurance advisor. You can also consult your insurance policy online at Online Services.
Many Desjardins home insurance policies provide all-risk coverage, which protects your property against damage from theft and vandalism.
Step 6) Submit Your Claim
Once you’ve connected with your insurance company, you will be lead through the process of submitting a claim. You will need your police report in order to complete the claim, so make sure you have this document on hand.
Be sure to call your insurer within 24 hours of the incident. Your claims representative will guide you through the process and work with you to confirm the details of your loss.
Step 7) Begin Clean-Up
Once the break-in has been completely documented and you’ve been given the green light by your insurer, you can begin the process of cleaning up your home.
Begin by cleaning up any signs of burglary, including picking up items strewn about, tidying up broken glass and other debris, and putting displaced items back where they belong.
Step 8) Take Preventative Measures
Cleaning up can help you move past the incident, but the best way to prevent it from happening again is by taking preventative measures.
Consider installing a home security system to help protect your property from future break-ins, such as a surveillance system or a burglary alarm system.
Burglars often choose homes that will offer the most reward for the least effort – that’s why installing home security measures, and security signage for doors and windows warning potential robbers of your home's new security, are such an effective deterrent.
Step 9) Consider Your Emotions
It’s completely normal to feel a little anxious and emotional after a break-in – that’s why you need to give yourself the time and space to go through the emotions you’re feeling at this time, allowing yourself to fully process the incident.
Although dealing with the aftermath of a break-in can be difficult, it’s important to try and find comfort in your home again. Do what you need to do in order to repair the damage that’s been done physically and emotionally. A positive attitude goes a long way – so that you can go back to what matters most, feeling comfortable in your own home and living your life to the fullest.